A Quote from Rinzai ( d.866), and Jazz by Kenny Burrell

Today I want to take the time to think about the following quote:

“Today’s students of the Buddha-Dharma need to look for genuine insight. If you have genuine insight, birth and death will not affect you, and you will be free to come and go. Nor do you need to look for worthiness; it will arise of itself.

Followers of the Way, do not let yourselves be deluded by anyone; this is all I teach. If you want to make use of genuine insight, then use it right now without delay or doubt.

Students nowadays do not succeed because they suffer from lack of self reliance. Because of this lack, you run busily hither and thither, are driven by circumstance, and kept whirling by the ten thousand things.-“
Rinzai ( d.866)

I found it very empowering to read “if you want to make use of genuine insight, then use it right now without delay or doubt.”

That makes me feel like a child, who knows without doubt the value of feeling good, of wanting and then receiving a desired thing (be it material, experiential or emotional, mental)…

As an adult I often question the voracity of wanting anything – would it be good if I got it, what if I can’ t  get it…all this just keeps me from living…keeps me in fear, in a place where I am fighting to be “not – alive”….but the statement “use it right now without delay or doubt” opens it all up for me…When I watch a video (like the one I have posted below), I can see without delay or doubt how I will practice today:

…I practice in the wake of the greatness I experience in the videos of  Wes or Herb or other great guitarists.  I will flow with it …for the joy of it…like a child on fire with the delight of mastery — just for the sake of getting lost in the pursuit, not because it will lead to a gig or impress someone else.

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Listen first, then listen again, then some more, and then decide to be quiet

10858497_10153095268990850_7376995795256107858_nAll my life my mom used to say “you need to learn to listen”, at which time I became royally offended and hated my mom and thought she was the enemy.

In a way she was– judgmental and negative, but she was right about my needing to listen.

Not sure to what, but after she passed I found out how important listening was.  Listening to something besides my relentless  self recriminations .

Virtually anything I listen to (or read, for in the act of reading I am speaking the author’s words in my head) is better than what I call Ms. Bad-Sad–that default feeling/thought/voice track in my head and heart.

That is because the original dysfunctional messages are there for time immemorial – no matter how much I know about enlightenment, NLP, Jungian approaches, and dozens of other tools for transcending a mentally ill family mind-set.

This bad sad mind track is only harmful if it goes unnoticed.  And once noticed it is only bad if I try to deny or argue with it or mask it over with “positive thinking”.  It is most beneficial when I accept it for what it is and is not:

What it is  – old messages and attitudes from a mentally ill upbringing.

What it is not – the deciding factor in who I am, how I feel, or what I can achieve.

But it is there, period.  It is possible to befriend and peacefully co-exist with Ms. Bad-Sad, provided I  start of every single day listening to things that quiet her:

Listen, listen, listen, listen, listen–

–to songs, meditations, books on tape, written materials, and people when available,  that are evolved, kind, accepting, and affirming of my pure desire and deservedness of love, fun, and high self-regard.

Listen, listen, listen, listen, listen…

to the love within me, my need for love, and my capacity to be, give and receive love.

This goes against my resident crepe hanger voice – since human loving kindness and love between people was declared (albeit silently by actions and attitudes) nonexistent by my mentally ill family, unless in the framework of traditional religion.

Listen – to my inner wise self, hidden beneath the daily barrage – my solid and ageless self, aligned with  all the love and motivation in the entire universe

So today, I begin, late but I do begin, by listening, quietly, silently… to loving, kind, self-accepting messages, letting them soak into me.

Right now I hear a book on tape called Ask and It is Given by Esther and Jerry Hicks.  Tomorrow I will play Shakti Gawain’s guided visualizations.  It can be anything, as long as the message is allowed to exist in the deep recesses of the mind/heart/soul.  That is why you writers and artists out there need to keep producing, because there can never be too many life-affirming loving and kind books, poems, songs, stories, coffee mugs, bumper stickers, t-shirts, art and craft gizmos…the more there are, the more they will outweigh the hateful, superstitious, false, fear based, or apathetic books, articles, shows and songs out there.

Every morning I will read,  play, and especially sing messages that give me the choice,  all over again, to declare I am not Ms Bad-Sad–she is just a roommate, and that I deserve a good life, success, friends and fun.

Excited at first? Has your plan to blog daily lost it’s dazzle?

Yesterday I posted for the first time in a long time, and I don’t know why or how, but my whole day went better.  I recall how it was when I started; I thought “this blog will be my positive start to each day, a way to listen to the loving voices in me and defuse the doubting, depressed ones.”  Then alas, I fell off the trolley.,..but as in my post from yesterday, I now simply BEGIN AGAIN.

Because it works, it feels good…no need to analyze or justify, if something keeps you working on your goals, frees you from negative monkey mind, just keep doing it for Gods’ sake!

What does it take to get you (i. e. me)  in your own corner, rooting for yourself?  You (I) root for others and would never think of saying, “so…you find blogging a great benefit…oh well, don’t bother, you’re too busy, you don’t have anything to say…”

…and yet that kind of self talk is what kept me away from blogging.

One of my favorite parts about this blog is when I post a jazz video.  Then when I begin practicing guitar I have a vivid sound and picture of why I am putting in all this effort on drills and such…Today’s video is by  jazz guitar icon Grant Green, with a great band backing him up.

For me, it is imperative that I watch role models doing things that I aspires to.  Rather than compare myself and feel I have fallen short, I love hearing the great jazz, it ignites my desire to play the best I can, to allow myself to picture the gigs I plan to get, and picture them going fantastically, and the venues inviting me to come and play all the time, for a decent amount of money or other compensation.

You see, just writing that makes it seem possible, not a distant pipe dream…it makes me wanna up my guitar practice to 7 a day..not hard at all.

I hope my story helps you to start blogging again if you have drifted away like me.

Sarah Vaughn: Listen to the Exquisite Final Note!

Since i have shared many jazz guitar videos, here is one of my first loves, singing, and the jazz singer who brought it to me–the desire to sing in that amazing style.  I had a roommate in the 80s who had old records lying around, she said I could have them.  One of them was Sarah Vaughn and after that I was hooked…Had never heard such vocal artistry.

I continue to improve on guitar, having learned to pick correctly after fumbling and groaning a lot…what a victory!  Now i need to master improv.

 

My jazz guitar adventure has always been in the service of my singing.  Sometimes I forget that.  Unlike pure instrumentalists I have my voice to entertain.

The purpose of learning guitar is so that I can grace my voice with the best jazz feel, jazz timing and with those fills between the vocals that set them of in all their shimmering beauty (at least that is what my vocal coach says my voice is like!)

Take the time to listen and watch the Sassy one:  The quality on this video is very good, showing her face, so relaxed while revealing intense emotion – quite a balancing act…

How May I Drive Away the Sorrows?

“And now as long as long as there are beings to be found,lake
May I continue likewise to remain
To drive away the sorrows of the world.”

Shantideva – Verse 55 / Chapter 10 of the Bodhicharyavatara

With my music, everything I say, do, think and feel, may I, Trella, be a driver away of sorrows of the world. This phrase moved me and put into focus why I live, why anyone lives.  It is to have a hand in bringing joy and beauty while driving away the sorrows.  What an amazing outlook on life. Today as I learn music and write songs may it be from this perspective.  Perhaps the songs will be heard, downloaded from iTunes…and with each listen, the songs will help to drive away these sorrows.

Jazzin’ the Day Away

I am posting a jazz guitarist video today to start my day of practice off right.  The arpeggios are getting easier all the time and I think if I can break the sound barrier so to speak, that place at which most people would quit because they don’t see how any of the drills will make them able to play actual improvised jazz, or even to take the songs they currently know and play them in a much more enjoyable arrangement..

So, yes, in spite of all the lack of proof that it will work, I will practice on in despair, like a mountain climber that knows that even if they reach the top they will most likely not make it down again due to hazards of nature…

That sounds so drama-queen-ish but it is how it feels to work and work for hours on one song and then play it and realize it does not sound good yet…

But I will go on because part of me knows that the day will come, in a month, a year, or 2 years, or more, when I will play well, when each song will be up to par, when I will have the gigs, respect from my fellow musicians, and most importantly, when I will use my new guitar skills to compose songs that I feel will make a difference – will help one or more people to learn, gain a new insight or be free of some mental anguish, due to the message and love in the song that I sing.

I don’t mean that I will be a star or that my video  will go viral, just that the ones who do hear my music will benefit from it.

This is almost like going back to a time when live performers were everywhere, before they had computers, TV, or even radio.

The world I want to live respects  songwriters and musicians of dedication, not because they are famous or because the are “trending” on social media, but because their music is glorious, like a beautiful painting by a master painter.

So enough of my rant, here is a video to inspire and entertain you and me:

Help! Is this Hard Bop? Be Bop?

 

 

Here is Russell Malone, great player.  Hope you will give comment on my question above.

I love this style, so as I learn to play it I want to be sure I am using the term that  generally applies to this “type” of jazz .

 

Today I have had more trouble with pain as I work on the arpeggios in each key.

 

But that will not stop me.  I took 600 mg of ibuprofen and used an icy hot patch.

Here goes for 4.5 hours today.  Also breaking it into nine sessions to avoid repetitive stress on the mussels and joints.  Speaking of joints……ah…just kidding…no really.  I could use one about now.

 

On another note, there is a book I have mentioned before, but it bears repeating.  It is called “The Perfect Wrong Note”

This bear looks like the attitude I need today to get my practice done.  Damn it, I am mad as hell that I  don’t know the scale patterns yet and  I’ll be darned if anything will stop me, so watch out world!

Back the the afore mentioned book:  When I spoke about some of its concepts to a former guitar teacher, he was NOT receptive. I believe some of the approaches require one  to be a bit ZEN like.  I am all for that.Perhaps I will revisit the book where he addresses pain caused by long hours of practice.

 

…Readers, stay with me, over the coming posts I will be sharing my insights on zen and music, on making a difference in the world rather than complaining about politics and  such, and especially on my continued love affair with jazz guitar, with being an adult learner, and breaking through my life long inability to stick to something and become excellent.  To actually succeed via my own firm commitment.

 

This will entail overcoming my fear that when I do well I will be expected to keep doing well, and I will become somewhat well known at least regionally…

Which will make me feel like a phony, or too public, or, I don’t know – afraid I won’t be me anymore.  That I will try to be what or who I think the people that like my music think I am.  Or I will try to be like some other female jazz guitarist or singer.  If you have gone from obscurity to a small degree of local fame, how have you kept on your original path, avoided a swelled head, and continued to work as hard as when you were just trying to get out of the starting gate?

You see I am a very private person who likes to be soft and gentle–not all gutsy like those guitar shredders I  have read about.    Emily Remler in particular. Don’t get me wrong, she was a great player.  But whatever she was doing in her life, she ended up addicted to H and died in her 30s.

This is a big challenge for me as you can see.  But life is either a daring adventure or nothing as someone once said.

If You Don’ Know How, First Learn HOW to know HOW: Blogging Will HELP YOU LEARN

learnToday I have pain from my hours of guitar practice. But I will not let that stop me.  I can take ibuprofen, stretch my arms and hands every 30 minutes. That should do it.

Today I am breaking through on how to play improvised jazz. It is all in the scale patterns. Memorizing them in each key…then, when I am playing a song, based on what key it is in, I can improvise all up and down the fretboard using scale patterns one through seven.

Never thought I would be able to – and I still don’t know how YET.  But I think I know HOW to know HOW. When it is a more complex goal, this step – how to know how – could make all the difference. I will let you know how it works.

If you are wondering will I ever post music of my own, this blog is for me to say things that I don’t have to worry about anyone judging.  Since I work in music, a potential client reading about me doubting my skills could be detrimental to me getting gigs.

I love WordPress and this community.  It has helped me to start each day taking the ZEN attitude – by writing what I know and feel spiritually. Without this blog it was hard for me to stay positive.

This blog/writing a “journal”, is life changing. IF YOU DON’T HAVE A BLOG – GET ONE!  Or at least start journaling.

Blogging brings about huge personal growth for people like me–people wishing to get beyond their baggage and to realize their dream. I have dreamed all my life of success in music.  I am on my way now,  BY GEORGE!